The Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s senior executive Brendan French, who is one of Australia’s biggest fraudsters, recently won a defamation case against a whistleblower. This is quite amazing given that it is French’s role at the Commonwealth Bank to cover-up multi-million-dollar fraud and theft by Commonwealth Bank staff and others and Brendan French should be in jail for his crimes, not winning defamation cases.
The CBA is currently facing multiple fraud scandals involving their senior staff which are currently before the courts and various Australian senate inquiries. There is a standard theme with all of them with 3 key elements:
- Massive fraud and theft involving Commonwealth Bank staff.
- Customers ripped off and the bank refuses to pay compensation or at best minimal compensation well below what the customer has lost because of fraud by CBA staff.
- Senior management at the CBA refuse to report crimes by their staff to the police unless they are forced to. In some cases, they have given staff members who have committed fraud a promotion. The senior management at the CBA who conceal the fraud are in effect committing a crime themselves.
Three recent examples of the CBA fraud and theft being investigated are:
- The Bankwest insurance fraud committed by the CBA worth hundreds of millions of dollars which is still under investigation by the Australian senate. I wrote in 2014: “The Commonwealth Bank bought Bankwest from HBOS in October 2008 for $2.1 Billion and as part of the agreement had a “warranty” provision that if any customers defaulted on their loans the Commonwealth Bank could “clawback” that amount from the purchase price.” “For example if 100 customers defaulted on business loans totalling $200 million the bank would be reimbursed the $200 million from HBOS and the original purchase price would have been reduced from $2.1 billion to $1.9 billion. Management at the Commonwealth Bank then decided to make as many customers as possible default on their loans.” (Click here to read more)
- Thousands of financial planning customers losing millions of dollars because of fraud by CBA staff. Last year I wrote: “the ABC’s Four Corners program had the story Banking Bad which even named at least one corrupt bank employee, Don Nguyen. Mr Nguyen has never been charged and under the leadership of Ian Narev. The CBA has deliberately concealed the evidence from the police.” (Click here to read more)
- The $76 million fraud revealed in the SMH this week involving CBA staff helping fraudsters rip-off CBA customers. The CBA concealed the fraud from police from 2007 until 2011 and forced innocent customers to sell assets that the CBA staff helped defraud. (Click here to read more)
It is some very grubby stuff by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and one of the key people concealing the corrupt and criminal conduct in Brendan French.
Brendan French covers up the CBA crimes on the clear instructions of the CBA’s CEO Ian Narev and Chairman David Turner as well the other directors. This is obvious given the evidence Ian Narev gave at the Senate Hearing last year in the below video.
The below video is evidence being given regarding the Open Advice Review program. “The program was announced following a senate inquiry into tens of thousands of elderly victims of conflicted financial advice, forgery and fraud at the hands of CBA Financial Advisers. Many lost their entire life savings.” (Click here to read more)
Who did the CBA appoint to head up the Open Advice Review program? Yep, their Number 1 fraudster Brendan French.
At the 2:35 mark of the video Senator Nick Xenophon asks CBA CEO Ian Narev if Brendan French was aware of the fraud committed by former CBA employee Mr Don Nguyen from 2008 and onwards. Mr Narev replies he does not know but says Brendan French was “certainly not complicit” and “we have no evidence that he was complicit in anything”. Senator Xenophon points out he did not ask him that question.
So why did Mr Narev say that Mr French was “certainly not complicit”. For senate hearings it is common for senior managers to be coached before giving evidence. It is even more common for criminals like Mr Narev to be coached and he clearly was. Mr Narev ended up making himself look stupid.
The Brendan French / Michael Fraser defamation case
Michael Fraser runs the website The Arbitrator and has been mentioned on this site before in relation to his battle with the Commonwealth Bank on behalf of unhappy customers. Previously I mentioned the dodgy warning letter sent to Mr Fraser from CBA Executive John Geurts. (Click here to read the letter)
Last year Brendan French (financed by the CBA) instituted defamation proceedings against Michael Fraser.
The SMH reported: A consumer advocate who was spied on by the Commonwealth Bank now faces a legal action that should send shivers down the spines of whistleblowers around the country.
The bank is funding a defamation action filed against the advocate, Michael Fraser, by a senior executive at the bank.
The legal action is understood to have used the discovery process to seek the names of CBA whistleblowers and any relevant communications and correspondence with certain journalists, including myself. It is also believed to want access to all of Fraser’s hard drives. (Click here to read more)
The bank was using the defamation case to go after whistleblowers which had nothing to do with the defamation case. Michael Fraser did not defend the case for cost reasons and also because it would have exposed whistleblowers who had given him inside information of corruption at the bank.
During the court case Brendan French played the victim routine of how he had been outed for being gay in an email that Mr Michael Fraser sent to 500 CBA staff and the stress and duress caused by the harassment by Michael Fraser.
This was interesting because Michael Fraser sent an email to 500 staff outing Brendan French for awarding a CBA contract to his then boyfriend Gregory Tillett amongst other things. The fact that French was gay was not an issue but he was obviously outed as a result. Brendan French works in Sydney which has a large gay population and no one would care less about him being gay. The SMH ran the below cartoon in April 2015 which would have been seen by 10,000’s of people and that to me seems to be outing Brendan French yet he has taken no action against the SMH. Why is that?
I doubt that Brendan French cared at all about being outed for being gay as the court case and the media attention means 100,000’s of people now know and it is all over the internet. What he was most likely really worried about is being outed for awarding the CBA contract to his partner which is potentially a sackable offence and maybe even a jailable offence.
Justice Lucy McCallum and the defamation judgment – French v Fraser (NoÂ 3)  NSWSC 1807 (4 December 2015) (Click here to read)
In the judgement at paragraph 6 it says “There is not the smallest suggestion of any actual wrong-doing on Dr French’s part. For the bank to back Dr French’s attempts to stem the personal harm to him caused by Mr Fraser was entirely appropriate.”
Well there is a truck load of evidence of Dr Brendan French’s wrongdoing before the Australian senate.
And at paragraph 88 it says “The evidence also establishes beyond doubt that Dr French has suffered an immense amount of emotional pain and hurt as a result of the publications”. What about the hurt and suffering caused to the CBA customers who were ripped off by CBA staff and then the CBA refused to give them compensation?
The below video is Merilyn Swan giving evidence about trying to get the money back that was stolen from her parents by the CBA and the get lost message she received from Brendan French. If Ms Swan and others had of given evidence at the defamation hearing I suspect the result would have been the opposite.
I notice Justice Lucy McCallum makes no mention of the widespread crimes of the bank and its staff which has been all over the media for the last few years. I would have thought that very relevant given the CBA were funding the matter and the case obviously impacted on the CBA’s reputation. Looks like Justice McCallum handed down the best judgment money can buy. It’s the same Justice McCallum who was caught having as a secret hearing to help Kerry Stokes. (Click here to read the transcript)
While Michael Fraser certainly did say and do things that he shouldn’t have they are trivial at best compared to the widespread destruction caused by the corrupt conduct of the CBA senior management which includes Brendan French. But the CBA jumped on the trivial stuff, blew it out of proportion and tried to get the CBA whistleblower names which was their main objective. When they couldn’t get the whistleblowers names they then used the CBA’s financial muscle to win a defamation case for their dodgy employee Brendan French.
The number of people starting to line up against the CBA is getting bigger by the day and a Royal Commission into the CBA and other Banks will have to happen eventually. This story has got a long way to go and I will continue to follow it.
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Categories: Commonwealth Bank of Australia